Show Me the Value: Recruiting Next Gen Financial Advisors

With Baby Boomers set to (maybe, eventually) retire, the financial services sector is on the verge of a recruiting crisis. The industry desperately needs to fill the pipeline with new hires but is experiencing a shortage of first-time financial advisors. Millennials, likely still skittish from the recession, are overlooking the finance trade as a career path. Although industry leaders seem aware of the troubling lack of new talent, few are being proactive about adapting recruiting strategies to better speak to younger generations. This is troubling, considering that by 2022, it’s estimated that the industry will face a shortfall of at least 200,000 advisors.

While we’re painting a pretty bleak picture, don’t despair just yet. There’s plenty that can and should be done. Enticing next-gen employees starts with appealing to their values, and Millennials and Gen Edgers place a premium on finding jobs where the organization’s values align with their own. Whether your company’s values appear in job descriptions or the copy on your website, focus on how to make those values relevant for Millennials and Gen Edgers. Here are the top three to highlight as you look to retool your recruiting strategy:
#1 - Promote Your Purpose
The next gens are eager to work for a company where they feel they’re doing work that’s meaningful and making a difference. It’s especially important to explain how your organization is serving a vital purpose, because movies like The Wolf of Wall Street have tanked the industry’s reputation. Show that the financial services are far from the reckless, uncaring, money-grubbing trolls portrayed in that film by emphasizing how you make an impact in your clients’ lives and build meaningful relationships. Knowing that an advisor can have a direct impact on a couple buying their first house together can go a long way towards attracting this meaning-hungry generation. The shift in messaging means setting aside the “you can make a ton of money working here” idea for “you can help your clients achieve their dreams.”

#2 - Indicate Opportunities to Collaborate
Millennials are natural team players and thrive when they can collaborate. Whether it’s with co-workers or clients, working well with others is a vital trait for this position, and it’s one the next generation has in spades. Although it might at first seem like being a financial advisor would mean a lot of solo work, there are tons of opportunities to collaborate. Some firms offer team-based incentives that allow advisors to work together instead of pitting them against one another. Reverse-mentorship programs are creating venues for cross-generational collaboration that appeal strongly to Millennial and Gen Edge talent. And don’t forget about client interaction. Emphasize that financial advising requires face time with clients, where advisors can work closely with them to help pinpoint and achieve their financial goals.

#3 - Articulate How They Can Innovate
The next gen has grown up with some of the world’s greatest inventors (who also happen to have some of the worst fashion sense), so it’s no surprise that they prize innovation. If Elon Musk can attempt to rocket a car to Mars, they should be able to innovate in smaller ways in their own roles. Stress how as a financial advisor, there are ways for them to implement their new ideas, and that they don’t have to settle for the status quo. They’ll want to hear that their input is valued and that an essential part of being an FA involves adapting and developing cutting-edge ways to not only keep pace with a volatile market but also best serve their clients' needs.

Infusing these values into your messaging is an easy, effective way to appeal to the next generation. Whether you tap into these values in a public forum like your website, your job descriptions, social media, or in a more private setting like casual one-on-one conversations and interviews, understanding what to highlight and how to position your firm, and its career opportunities, will be vital to getting the next generation in the door.